This week’s writer is Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos.
Trust in government is at an all-time low. As you can see playing out before our eyes in the news today, integrity is at a premium in times of crisis. Truth and transparency are necessary to effective leadership. In Vermont, we take great pride in having a government that is more accessible and more trusted than those in other states, but over the years I have seen Americans, including Vermonters, grow increasingly frustrated with those times when they feel like their government is not operating openly and transparently.
The start of the new year provides an opportunity to reflect and set out our intentions for the months ahead. This year, I am asking all legislators to join me in committing to protect and expand access for Vermonters who are seeking access to public records.
The bottom line is: open government is good government.
Vermonters shouldn’t have to pay for access to inspect public records their government creates in the course of agency business. Navigating who to ask, and how to request public records is enough of a hurdle for most Vermonters. They shouldn’t also be charged an arm and a leg to...
MIDDLEBURY — Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos brought his “2019 transparency tour” to Middlebury on Tuesday, a biennial visit designed to drill town officials on the information they must share with the people who elect them and/or pay their salaries.
And Condos’ message — delivered at Middlebury’s Ilsley Library to just two Waltham officials and this reporter amid the first snow of the season — was consistent: The custodians of state and local records must share all information — except for special circumstances outlined in Vermont’s transparency laws, its Public Records Act, and its...
Vermonters shouldn’t have to pay for access to their government’s public records. Government transparency is far too important to be revoked by government agencies when they feel inconvenienced.
Generous access to public records is rooted in the Vermont Constitution, and comes from Vermont statutes:
“It is the policy of this subchapter to provide for free and open examination of records consistent with Chapter I, Article 6 of the Vermont Constitution. Officers of government are trustees and servants of the people and it is in the public interest to enable any person to review and criticize...